Houston, We Have Liftoff. Thank God.

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So, all I want to do for my 30th birthday is get dressed up, drink a good, strong cocktail and stuff my face with black-bottom cupcakes and coffee ice cream. Maybe I’ll even get Double Rainbow espresso bean shipped in…

But Taylor’s 30th-birthday wish was a bit more, shall we say, adventurous. He wanted to see a shuttle launch. And that meant we had to do it now, before NASA shuts the program down later this year. Planning a vacation around something that could be canceled at any point up to the actual moment of it happening is not the wisest idea. But it’s Taylor’s 30th. So to Orlando we went.

A week out, all signs were looking good for launch. We arrived in Orlando late Thursday night; the launch was scheduled for 2:30pm Friday. We boarded the bus for the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral at 6:30am. SIX THIRTY AM. Let’s recall people that I work nights and when I see 6:30 am it’s usually from the other end and I’m on my way to bed.

Pretty much the entire time from 6:30am until 2:30pm was spent waiting: waiting for the bus to arrive; waiting for the bust to leave; waiting for the bus to park; waiting in line at the Kennedy Space Center to buy blue chairs that say Kennedy Space Center on the back; waiting in line to re-board the buses; waiting on the bus to leave Kennedy Space Center; and, finally, waiting in our blue chairs on the NASA Causeway for liftoff.

Even a few hours before launch, they were still only 70% Go. I spent much of the day trying not to imagine how soul crushing it would feel to get all the way out there and then have them scrub.

Thank the lord, the launch went off exactly on time. Were all those hours of waiting worth the 30 seconds of awesomeness? Eh. I’m glad to have seen it; we witnessed a part of history; etc etc etc. What really made it all worth it was this face (and yes that is a NASA hat he is wearing):

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